J U N E 2 0 1 7
M E D I C U S
Acts of “love” rise over those
mired in hate
Dr Omar Khorshid
Continued from page 2
No apologies, I'm a dedicated doctor
F R O M T H E E D I T O R
wo events this month have shown the best and
the worst of human nature.
The first was a cowardly attack on a medical
professional in Melbourne a few weeks ago.
Heart specialist Dr Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann, at the
time of publication of
, was fighting for his life
at Melbourne’s The Alfred Hospital after allegedly being
punched while standing inside the entrance of Box Hill
Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann was working at Box Hill Hospital
when he was allegedly hit from behind by a man he had
told to stop smoking in a non-smoking area in the hospital.
This reprehensible attack on a doctor who was taking
steps to protect the health of people attending a hospital,
is unfortunately indicative of not just the threat of violence
that sometimes exists around smoking but the way in which
some people react when asked to consider the health of
Every doctor in Perth, in fact every hospital visitor, has
stories to tell about the individuals who light up around
hospitals, more often than not while standing in front of
NO SMOKING signs. The fact is that some people are so
arrogant that they not only deliberately flout laws banning
smoking from around hospitals but actually stand in front of
NO SMOKING signs to practise their filthy habit.
Irrespective of how addicted or dependent patients are on
nicotine, they should adhere to the rules that exist around
and within places of health, such as hospitals.
Perhaps we should stop shaking our heads in frustration.
Maybe we should cease being so tolerant and make such
offences a serious crime. Perhaps we consider declining
such people healthcare and consider an immediate
detention of some sort.
How we enforce the NO SMOKING rule around health
campuses is a debate for another time. All I know is we can’t
keep ignoring it.
Balanced with this deplorable act of violence, however, was
an act of devotion, or as the Prime Minister said, “love… and
The donation of $400 million by Fortescue Metals Group
founder Andrew Forrest made a few weeks ago was one of
the largest charitable donations made by a living Australian.
Mr Forrest has shown the way forward for many wealthy
Australians. As he said at the public announcement of his
donation: it is much better to provide a “hand up rather than
a hand out.”
Interestingly, the AMA (WA) was ahead of the curve on this
and had already thanked Mr Forrest for his contribution to
the health and wellbeing of West Australians.
At the 2012 AMA (WA) Gala Dinner, Mr Forrest was
presented the prestigious President’s Award for his work
through Indigenous employment service Generation One.
As I wrote then: “Through his personal funding, drive and
advocacy, Mr Forrest has ensured that many thousands
of Indigenous Australians have not just found meaningful
employment or improved their education, but have been
encouraged to take up healthy lifestyles for themselves and
So in the space of two weeks we have seen the best and
the worst of humanity. A one punch attack is horrendous
and cowardly. The attacker will be dealt with by the legal
system as appropriate. In due course – likely to be months
– the attacker will be forgotten, dismissed by history as a
Mr Forrest’s contribution, on the other hand, will be
remembered for as long as we exist as a society and its
impact will live on in a thousand, if not a million different
ways. As it should.
government but also holding them
to account whilst at all times acting
and speaking professionally and with
The reality is that there are tough
economic times ahead and it is our
job to protect and advocate for our
patients. We should demand to be
treated with respect, and ensure that
we treat ourselves, our colleagues and
our patients in the same way.
I don’t apologise for my dedication to
my profession and for me it’s certainly
not ‘ just a job’.